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For more information, please see full course syllabus of AP U.S. History
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  • Abolitionism had an appeal to free African Americans especially in the cities (in 1850, about 250,000)
  • Despite difficulties, northern blacks were proud of their freedom but also wanted to help those of whom were still enslaved; many subscribed to the Liberator
  • Abolitionist and founder of The Liberator, William Lloyd Garrison, believed opponents of slavery should view slavery from the black man’s point of view (not the slave owner’s), rejected “gradualism,” and demanded immediate abolition of slavery and citizenship to blacks
  • Garrison’s followers took an uncompromising moral stance and helped runaway slaves find refuge via the underground railroad (to the North or Canada). Harriet Tubman was a “conductor” of the underground railroad.
  • David Walker, a free black from Boston, published an outspoken pamphlet: Walker’s Appeal to the Colored Citizens in which he justified slave rebellion, warning of a slave revolt if their freedom was delayed; he called for a violent black rebellion in Boston around the time that Nat Turner’s revolt took place in Southampton County, VA
  • Frederick Douglass was born into slavery but then later escaped, became one of the most powerful abolitionists & orators
  • Douglass purchased his freedom & founded the antislavery newspaper the North Star in Rochester, NY, wrote an autobiography: Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, became the most influential force & led the first national convention in 1830.
  • Backlash against abolitionist movement especially white southerners but also white northerners; some warned that abolitionism would produce a sectional war


Lecture Slides are screen-captured images of important points in the lecture. Students can download and print out these lecture slide images to do practice problems as well as take notes while watching the lecture.

  • Intro 0:00
  • Overview 0:05
  • Free Blacks Urge Others to “Elevate” 1:17
    • Social Uplift
    • Whites Led Mob Attack Against Blacks
    • Moderates and Extremists
  • The Antislavery Movement 4:04
    • American Colonization Society
    • Gradual Manumission of Slaves
    • Decline of Antislavery Movement
  • Abolitionists 5:36
    • Free African Americans
    • Threat of Being Kidnapped
    • Liberator
  • Moderate and Extreme Approaches 8:20
    • Advocating for Moderate Approach
    • Radical Abolitionists
    • Evangelical Christians
  • William Lloyd Garrison 11:01
    • Newspaper: Liberator
    • Reject Gradualism
    • New England Antislavery Society
  • David Walker 13:36
    • Walker's Appeal to the Colored Citizens
    • National Convention in Philly
    • Collective Equality for All Blacks
  • Nat Turner 16:06
    • Bloody Revolt in Southampton Country, Virginia
    • Turner's Men
    • The Virginia Legislature
    • Southern States Toughened their Slave Codes
  • The Underground Railroad 20:21
  • Frederick Douglass 23:10
    • Most Powerful Abolitionists and Orators
    • North Star in Rochester, NY
    • Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass
    • Friend with Garrison
  • Douglass and the North Star 27:01
  • Other Evangelical Abolitionists 27:11
    • Theodore Dwight Weld
    • Angelina and Sarah Grimke
    • American Anti-Slavery Society
    • Sojourner Truth
  • Anti-Abolitionism 32:12
    • Backlash Against Abolitionist Movement
    • Prudence Crandall
    • Abolitionist Headquarters
  • Amistad 33:35
    • The Spanish Slave Vessel Amistad
    • Prigg v. PA
    • Federal Fugitive Slave Laws
  • Abolitionists and Politics 35:04
    • Ban Interstate Slave Trade and Abolish Slavery
    • Restrict the Use of Mail
    • The Liberty Party
    • James G. Birney
    • Free Soil
    • Women's Rights
  • Example 1 38:09
  • Example 2 40:46
  • Example 3 43:09